From The Vault: Tyrannosaurus Rex – “(A Beginning)” (1972)
Reviewing any of the early Tyrannosaurus Rex albums would essentially be reviewing all of them, say for “Unicorn” which was their most successful / commercial, and being the most highly and technically produced of all their records. I’ve chosen “A Beginning” for a number of reasons, the first being that this is my suggestion, as an introduction to the music of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the second is that the cover is so elementally in and of the moment, representing a compilation of psychedelic folk music, the likes of which the world had never seen … and finally, this release strips away all of the material that to this day still manages to allude me, leaving you with only the cream from the early years.
Tyrannosaurus Rex was essentially Marc Bolan, and percussionist Steve Took, with an uncredited band member being producer Tony Visconti, under who’s guidance the band managed to float off with experimental sounds, tape loops, marvellous chord changes, overdubbed harmonies, double tracking, and a crisp clear sound, unlike most contemporary folk and rock music of the day. Marc seemed to be obsessed with mystical visionary images of gossamer wings, mythical creatures of kindness, women as goddesses, shimmering stars and liquid heavens … all of which could exist in the wind blown, free flowing golden hair, of both men and women. And to that end he attempted to give voice to these visions in song.
For the most part these songs are simple, almost sounding like a memory from one’s childhood, unplaceable, as if only a fever dream. And to that end Tyrannosaurus Rex was very successful, with their use acoustic guitars and an array of drums [variations of hand held and hand drummed precessions] many of which created sounds as yet unheard in the folk and rock circles. Some of these drumming techniques were embraced by legends such as Richie Havens [just listen to his song “Freedom”] and have gone on to be heard at most folk festivals even today.
Marc was attempting to bring back a glory that never existed anywhere, except in the imagination of the dreamer … times of grace, castles and knights, conquests of love, and all of the music mapped out in the stars for all to hear, if they would but only take the time.
Truly visionary dreams of kindness and love.
– Jenell Kesler
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